A big-name fight calls for a big-name referee, and that’s exactly what it will get.
Kenny Bayless, a veteran referee who some view as the best in the world, was appointed Tuesday to officiate the May 2 bout between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission considered five other referees for the fight but appointed Bayless by a unanimous 5-0 vote. The Las Vegas native, who will turn 65 two days before the big matchup, has plenty of experience with both Mayweather and Pacquiao. Since 2004, Bayless has overseen seven Pacquiao fights and four Mayweather fights, including the latter’s showdown with Oscar De La Hoya, the top-selling pay-per-view match of all time.
Bayless will be well-compensated for his effort, as he’s set to earn a record $25,000. The bout’s three judges — Dave Moretti of Las Vegas, Burt A. Clements of Reno, Nev., and Glenn Feldman of Connecticut — will make $20,000 each.
It appears the high price tag is worth it, though, as both camps have praised the selections.
“I can’t believe it,” Mayweather promoter Leonard Ellerbe said, via the Los Angeles Times, “but this is one thing (Pacquiao promoter) Bob Arum and I do agree on: We’re very pleased with the selection of the officials. I have no doubt the officials will be very fair in judging the fight, and the referee will undoubtedly do a masterful job.”
Thumbnail photo via Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports Images